Did you know that customer relationship management (CRM) technology is one of the largest spending categories in enterprise software? It’s true! The global Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market size was valued at USD 23.14 billion all the way back in 2015, and has only grown since then. A recent CRM industry analysis discovered that this popular tool is now considered an essential business software for hotel groups and businesses in any industry.
What is CRM software?
CRM software is a platform that helps organize sales and marketing information. It helps all departments within your hotel group connect through one central portal. CRMs help associates complete tasks such as keeping track of new leads, saving customer notes, analyzing key business metrics, and finding prospects to re-engage.
Every CRM user can access up-to-date client data in real-time which means everyone can be on the same page no matter where they are. Plus, most CRMs can also help you discover opportunities for growth both in terms of internal organization and overall business efficiency thanks to in-depth reporting. As a result, you can use CRM software to grow your hotel group and your business in countless ways.
What does CRM software do?
Here’s an overview of just some of the helpful things a hotel S&C CRM can do:
- Save customer and prospect data in one convenient and organized location.
- Automatically record customer interactions.
- Schedule follow ups with prospects.
- Optimize group sales performance.
- Maximize portfolio insight.
- Create custom sales reports.
- Manage catering with automated processes for contracting and BEOs.
- Provide a user-friendly solution for growing and running your hotel group.
As you can see, CRMs help hotel groups cover almost the full range of required daily operations and then some.
Why do hotels use CRM software?
We’ve already mentioned some of these benefits, but let’s take a closer look at how CRM software actually enables sales teams to save time on all these tasks.
1. Optimize and track sales performance
Your CRM will automatically aggregate info from customer and prospect files into one simple dashboard. You can monitor open leads, open bookings, upcoming events, and review tasks automatically listed in order by importance and deadline.
2. Streamline and improve business operations
CRMs also make workflow management and optimization much simpler. Visual tools like reports and booking charts help take complicated data sets and beautifully lay them out in terms every employee can navigate. You can also see who is responsible for what and when everything is due, so following up with other team members is both more productive and more enjoyable.
3. Automate partner management
Working with event planners and caterers can get a bit confusing at times and proper communication is key. A great CRM can help hotel groups arrange for contract reviews, avoid double bookings, and provide key stats to partners faster than ever before.
Who uses hotel S&C CRM software?
Any hotel group that wants to increase profits regardless of their size. Hotel groups should also use CRM software if they plan to improve their targeted marketing, build stronger relationships with customers, and provide helpful tools for employees at every level. But while most CRMs can deliver on these promises, not every software will be right for your unique business.
How to choose a hotel group CRM software
In the next six years, the CRM market is expected to be worth more than $80 billion. But what does this mean for you?
With more and more CRM competitors entering the market and vying for your attention, you’ll have the opportunity to pick from among hundreds of options. And while that may sound like a good thing, you’ll soon find that no two CRM programs are exactly alike. Which means that researching and trying out software could quickly become an overwhelming task, in terms of both time and dollars spent.
In order to find a program that is the best possible fit for your hotel group, you’ll need to plan ahead. Identify what your sales, marketing, and business goals are first. Then you can decide what you’re specifically looking for in a CRM platform.
No matter what you decide you need, remember that every truly great hotel group CRM software will have or do the following:
User-Friendly Features:You can buy the best, most effective CRM in the world. But it won’t be worthwhile unless you and your colleagues understand how to use it. A great hotel group CRM software will be easy to use.
Once you purchase it, you should be able to get up and running within the next 48 hours. And if you need help or have questions, your CRM provider should be available to promptly assist every step of the way. And because high turnover is a given in the hotel industry, having a user-friendly CRM makes it easy for new employees get up to speed on their very first day.
Improve Booking Rates: Hotel group CRMs worth their salt offer a variety of ways to build and strengthen your network of customers. They offer a clear view of all leads through the entirety of your sales cycle. From prospect to booking to banquet to close, great CRMs are an awesome index that will help you proactively locate repeat business.
Discover Upsell Opportunities: A good hotel group CRM software helps you schedule bookings. A great hotel group CRM software helps you improve them. With data from past transactions you can see what your clients (or customers like them) have booked in the past.
Having this information makes it easy to suggest a spa upgrade or event package because you already know the prospect is interested. And the best part is, this information is available within just a few clicks. Which makes strategic high ROI upselling a smooth and professional part of the booking process.
Automate Daily Tasks: Things like efficient follow up, project management, and contact updating take up a lot of time. Look for a hotel group CRM software that takes care of these (and other) important administrative tasks for you. With these out of the way you’ll have more time to consider the big picture goals like expanding your business.
Personalized Training: It shouldn’t take new team members weeks or months just to get up to speed with your hotel group CRM software. So, as we’ve mentioned, your CRM must be user friendly. But going a step further, it should also provide helpful training resources.
Things like unlimited live online training sessions and one-on-one expert help isn’t a luxury. And it should be required. So before you choose your first (or next) CRM, make sure to consider what the experience will be like for future users in your hotel group.
Offer Customization: Your CRM should allow you to send branded content whenever you interact with a customer. Things like logo, brand colors, and relevant contact info should all be added to communications.
Your CRM should also let you customize reporting for Pace, Sales Activity, and GRC. Customizing these reports allow you to see the data you want to see right when you need to see it. Analyzing business data from every angle helps give you a full look into the health of your hotel business.
Dedicated Account Managers: Your hotel group CRM software provider is a business partner. They should work with you before, during, and well after the sale. Make sure that the program you choose has a team of dedicated account managers assigned to you.
There are lots of reasons why dedicated account managers are a CRM necessity. From time to time your software will need maintenance or routine updates. A dedicated account manager can fill you in on how long it will take, what you need to do, and whether or not you’ll experience any interruption in service.
Dedicated account managers also make it easier to navigate questions right as they come up. They can also help you get the most out of your CRM experience by suggesting new ways to use the tool to solve unique problems.
Accessibility: Your CRM should be accessible anywhere. Multiple users can see the same data, dashboards, and real time updates across multiple locations all at the same time. Not only is it more convenient, it also helps keep field teams and geographically separated locations on the same page at all times.
Plus, having mobile access means you can quickly and easily look up client information in meetings and at networking events. You have a lot of brand partners, vendors, caterers, and guests to keep track of. Which is why having a mobile friendly CRM is so important.
Sales Reporting: It can’t be mentioned enough. When it comes to getting information on the past, present, and potential future of your sales, a CRM is the best possible tool you can have in your toolbox – especially when it comes time to review Pace, GRC and sales activity reports. You need advanced analytics based on real data to help make informed business decisions. If that isn’t reason enough to invest in a quality hotel group CRM software, we’re not sure what is.
So you’ve assessed your business goals. And checked off all ten of these hotel group CRM must haves. But there’s still one more question you have to answer before you officially make your purchase.
Which hotel S&C CRM software is best?
If you’ve made it this far and you still don’t know which CRM is right for you then you need to ask the software users themselves. Luckily for you, there are lots of hotel groups out there who have already tested and reviewed these products for you.
And there are plenty of ways to get a hold of this info. Just check out any of these resources:
Hotel group CRM reviews
There are a few ways to get word-of-mouth feedback on how helpful a particular CRM might be for your team, including asking peers, asking the software provider to connect you with a current user for a conversion, and checking for customer stories.
A great way to review a CRM is to look for customer stories on the provider’s website and social media. Customers who put their own face and name on a positive testimonial really believe in the product they’re endorsing. Look for rave reviews that display first and last names as well as professional headshots and company names to verify they’re real.
Also, it’s not enough to say the product is great. A truly helpful customer review will note the ways in which the CRM has helped them succeed and back that statement up with actual facts and figures.
How to fuel growth with venue CRM software
By now you’ve learned what a CRM is as well as what it does and how it can help you grow your hotel group business. You’ve also learned what to look for in a quality CRM and how to navigate the decision making process.
A CRM is an extremely helpful tool you can use to improve all aspects of your hotel group sales, marketing, and daily operations. So if you’re interested in learning more about an award-winning, industry specific CRM, make sure you check out Social Tables Sales and Catering CRM solution – and our Hotel Market Segmentation Guide.
Maria is a freelance writer specializing in B2B SaaS, technology, and events.